Concern over Government’s renewable fuels guidance

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 25 Sep 2017

THE UK’s largest producer of bioethanol has  raised concerns after the Government announced its new set of strategies for renewable fuels for transport. 

Vivergo Fuels, based at Saltend, has  reluctantly welcomed the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation proposals released by the Department for Transport. 

However, the company has  also said it has concerns about the proposed rate of reduction in the usage of certain fuels, after 2020.

In the report, the Government made proposals to introduce a cap on crop-based biofuels in order to meet its renewable fuel obligations.

The maximum level for the use of fuels made from agricultural crops will begin at 4 per cent in 2018 and reduce year on year from 2021 to reach 3 per cent in 2026 and 2 per cent in 2032.

Mark Chesworth, managing director at Vivergo Fuels, the UK’s largest producer of bioethanol reluctantly welcomed the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation proposals.

He said: “While we welcome the Government raising the renewable blending obligation and their increasing the recommended crop cap to an initial 4 per cent, indicating that they have taken on board some of the concerns of the 93 per cent  of stakeholders who called for a high cap, we remain concerned about the proposed post-2020 year-on-year reduction.

“This decreasing cap is predicated on a number of uncertainties and could have serious consequences for the long-term future of the British bioethanol industry, jobs in the North of England and domestic agriculture.”

In his foreword, Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP said: “Increasing the renewable content of petrol by moving to E10 fuel should make achieving our targets easier and potentially more cost-effective, as well as providing an economic boost to domestic producers.

“The Government will work with industry to facilitate any future introduction of E10 petrol, playing our part to ensure that is managed carefully and to ensure ongoing availability of fuel suitable for older (pre-2000) petrol vehicles.

“In doing so, we expect the oil industry to do its  part to help minimise any impacts on owners of older vehicles.”

Mr Chesworth says  the firm agrees with the Transport Minister that E10 fuel would be cost-effective, but questions the ease with which it can be successfully introduced across Britain.

He said: “We agree with the Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP that E10 fuel makes ‘achieving our targets easier and potentially more cost-effective, as well as providing an economic boost to domestic producers’. 

“However, we would question whether E10 can be successfully introduced and sustained with a crop cap which, even at its highest point, is the lowest in Europe. 

“We would therefore call on the Government to mandate E10, enabling a swift co-ordinated roll-out and a clear and  
consistent message to consumers.”

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